Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Published Eleventh Circuit Opinion Discussing Compliance With District Court Local Rules

In Ruby Mann v. Taser International, Inc. (08-16951), the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the trial court's entry of summary judgment on claims brought by "Melinda Neal Fairbanks following her arrest by deputies of the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office."  The court also discussed the plaintiff's failure to comply with the local rules of the district court.  The court stated:
Northern District of Georgia Local Rule 56.1(B)(2)(a)(2)...demands that the nonmovant’s response contain individually numbered, concise, non-argumentative responses corresponding to each of the movant's enumerated material facts. N.D. Ga. R. 56.1(B)(2)(b). Where the party responding to a summary judgment motion does not directly refute a material fact set forth in the movant's Statement of Material Facts with specific citations to evidence, or otherwise fails to state a valid objection to the material fact pursuant to Local Rule 56.1B(2), such fact is deemed admitted by the respondent. See Id.
We give “great deference to a district court's interpretation of its local rules” and review a district court's application of local rules for an abuse of discretion. Clark v. Housing Auth. of Alma, 971 F.2d 723, 727 (11th Cir. 1992). In order to meet the abuse of discretion standard, Plaintiffs bear the burden of showing that the district court made a clear error of judgment.
Plaintiffs’ answers were convoluted, argumentative and nonresponsive.  Defendants’ Statement of Material Facts consisted of 65 paragraphs. Plaintiffs’ response consisted of 146 paragraphs, many with multiple subparts. Plaintiffs were on notice of the deficiency and took no steps to make corrections.


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